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Antique German Brass Ring Dial, circa 1737 Signed AH


Offered for sale is an antique German (or Austrian) 18th century Brass Ring Dial engraved with the date of 1737 on the outside of the ring. It is also engraved with: "A" "H" 47 on the outside of the ring. It measures about 1 1/2" in diameter and has two holes in the top where the sun shines through and the engraving scales on the inside of the ring tells what time of day it is by the light dot shining to a spot on the engraved scale. It also has a retaining ring on the top which can be affixed to a necklace or chain.

Lit: Early Scientific Instruments by R. H. Nuttall, PhD, Pub: Charles Frank Limited, Glasgow; Encyclopedia of Antique Scientific Instruments by John Fitz Maurice Mills, Aurum Press, 1983

HISTORY: For thousands of years humans have recognized the passage of time, whether through the cycle of night and day or by the passing of the seasons. Our current method of timekeeping, which uses a 60-second minute, a 60-minute hour and a day divided into two 12 hour periods, originated over 4,000 years ago in Mesopotamia and Egypt (Barnett 1998: 102). The Ancient Egyptians built great obelisks to track the sun, creating the first sundials.

In 600 BC, philosopher and astronomer Anaximander is said to have introduced the sundial to Greece and from there it grew in popularity and was the most trusted timekeeping device for centuries (Ostler 2003). Sundials still remained in use even with the invention of mechanical clocks, as early clocks were notoriously inaccurate and had to be regularly calibrated using a sundial. Around 1600, English mathematician William Oughtred invented the ring dial, a small portable sundial that quickly came into common use throughout Europe (Chandler and Vincent 1967: 156). It consists of a brass ring which, when suspended vertically and oriented towards the sun, can be used to determine the time of day (Eden and Lloyd 1900: 188).

The interior surface of the ring has numbers corresponding to the hours of the day and the exterior has letters corresponding to the months of the year. A narrow band of brass slides along a groove set in the exterior surface of the ring. The movable band has a hole in it, which can be aligned with the letters, or months, on the exterior of the ring. The hole in the band allows sunlight to pass through and strike the numbers on the interior surface indicating the time of day (Stephens 1851: 52).

Provenance: A private collection. This is an authentic antique sundial. This is an original piece! We guarantee the authenticity of this item.

Shipping: FREE to the United States. We also will ship worldwide.

Shipping to the Continental United States is FREE Please look at the picture and read the description, which form a part of the condition description. What you see and what you read is what you are buying

International purchasers should contact sellers at: CAPTAINMADISON@ATT.NET for a shipping and insurance quote to your address and country. International purchasers should appreciate that the Customs Dept. of your country may assess duties, taxes and/or other charges on your purchase as it enters your country, which expenses are not part of the purchase price for this item and remains the sole expense of the purchaser.

This product would make a wonderful addition to any scientific instrument or sundial collection when displayed in a prominent place, being a grand collectible item that would adorn any serious collector's prized scientific instrument and sundial accumulations, while showing a discriminating dedication for fine sundials and other scientific instrument items as well as a devotion to acquiring fine collectibles.

Please look at the photos and read the description as what you see and read is what you are buying.

Sellers exclusively use the USPS as its' shipper (insurance available).

Please email sellers to: CAPTAINMADISON@ATT.NET for purchasing, payment, shipping arrangements, requests for more photos, as well as any other inquiries.

Payments may be made by check (must clear), bank checks, postal or bank money orders, Western Union money transfers, pre-payment arrangements, good old U.S. Dollars (green currency), and/or other secure money transfers or payments.

Please regularly visit our other web sites for more sundials and scientific instruments and related products as we shall regularly be adding more products from time to time:

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  • Model: Antique German Brass Ring Dial

This product was added to our catalog on Monday 14 July, 2014.

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